Abubakar Malami, the minister of Justice and attorney general of the federation, on Wednesday, October 23, disclosed that Nigeria had plunged into judgement debt of a whopping sum of N150 billion.
Malami attributed the development to the large figure arose from bad cases, contract failures, damages and especially fines against human rights abuses, just as he requested that the Senate should appropriate an extra N30 billion to the ministry to service the debt annually.
Malami made this known in Abuja during 2020 budget defence of the ministry before the Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, All Progressives Congress (APC) Ekiti Central led Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
According to Malami, N10bilion was paid in 2017, N150 billion remains unpaid; prompting beneficiaries to mount severe pressure on the ministry, even as he requested that a commission of 2.5% of the total recovered loot should be given to the Asset Recovery Unit in his office to service bills.
“Regardless, we shall not relent on what we have set out to accomplish largely because the rule of law is undoubtedly the pillar of democracy the world over.
“Distinguished committee members, the rule of law is good and noble but greatly capital intensive. At the home front, judgement debt kept mounting, a threat to peace, breaches of the peace, outside aggressions and allied reprehensible violence, extremism have all combined to constitute suffocating legal challenges with attendant mounting financial demands in servicing them.
“It is in public domain that we are today contending with P&ID judgment prompting us to swiftly moved to action to save the country from a $9.6B judgement debt “I want to state on record that no budgetary provision existed as it relates to contentious issues relating to the defence of the federal government for the purpose of setting aside this quoted demand and others.
“This is a clear sign and demonstration of the fact that the Federal Ministry of Justice work under very difficult circumstances for the purpose of addressing issues with huge financial demands leading to circumstances where no budgetary provision exists for the purpose of addressing the challenges that kept arising day-in-day-out.
“In any event, there is a glimmer of hope within the foreseeable future we shall triumph over this hazard of international conspiracy and dramatic irony that is packaged for the purpose of creating a serious economic setback for the country. There are several protocols and agreements which Nigeria is obligated that requires constant travels to keep faith at these fora.
“I will like to reiterate my earlier request for a dedicated expenditure item to servicing these crucial international obligations in order not to renege our responsibilities as a nation.
“Critical functions associated with elections among others clearly as it relates to the execution of election and election associated matters keep cropping up and have serious financial demands that are in no way captured in our budgetary provisions at times.
“This platform provides another excellent opportunity for me to push for approval of 2.5% as requisite commission arising from the recovery of our stolen assets stashed off the shores of Nigeria.”